Author Topic: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!  (Read 1858 times)

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Offline jsaras

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That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« on: January 29, 2013, 12:10:59 PM »
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.UQf9lR00WSo

Short story, pollen is removed through ultra filtration to hide the country of origin (China) and it's often contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics. Also, even legitimate honey is usually mislabeled about its nectar and pollen content.

Things have never been more like today than they are right now.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 12:43:16 PM »
Jonas,

Jet_deck (Gene) brought this matter to our attention some time ago: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16363.msg159826.html#msg159826.

Peter

Offline kramer73

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 12:53:42 PM »
I know a local beekeeper.  Problem solved.

scott123

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 07:01:58 PM »
The implication that Chinese honey producers are all dishonest and that American producers are all honest is xenophobic and protectionist rubbish.  Any honey producer, anywhere, can adulterate honey.  It's up to the companies selling honey to test for foreign substances before they sell it to the public. Testing for pollen is worthless. You can add corn syrup to a honey with pollen and it'll still show up as containing pollen.

Sure, we can all spend the big bucks on local honey, but for the people that can only afford the supermarket stuff, they should be protected- and focusing on pollen doesn't help.    
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 07:05:02 PM by scott123 »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 07:15:30 PM »
Aren't they jus removing the pollen so that it will be clearer looking? It still tastes like honey, right? So what's the problem?
My girlfriend buys honey from one of her customers that make it local here on their farm. I don't know how much it cost's( they probably give it to her) but it doesn't seem to taste all that better to me...
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« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 07:17:11 PM by Chicago Bob »
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 07:58:21 PM »
The implication that Chinese honey producers are all dishonest and that American producers are all honest is xenophobic and protectionist rubbish.  Any honey producer, anywhere, can adulterate honey.  It's up to the companies selling honey to test for foreign substances before they sell it to the public. Testing for pollen is worthless. You can add corn syrup to a honey with pollen and it'll still show up as containing pollen.

Scott,
I missed that implication in the article. The problem is much larger than adulteration. That is only a very small part of the story. The real problem is dumping. Testing the pollen has nothing to do with checking for corn syrup or any other sort of adulteration. Adulteration is a byproduct of dumping Ė do you really think producers, Chinese or other, who illegally smuggle in honey to avoid tariffs really care if the honey is contaminated? And it largely comes here because Canada and the EU are much more stringent in testing.

You are correct that it would be wrong to imply that all Chinese honey producers are dishonest, but it is absolutely accurate to say that all Chinese honey illegally dumped in this market comes from China, and it is also accurate to say that the VAST majority of illegally dumped honey comes from China. The other culprit was Argentina, but they have largely scaled back and increased prices in the wake of the tariffs while the Chinese have thumbed their nose at us and increased exports. This is they the tariffs on China were just extended and those on Argentina were allowed to lapse.

Filtering the pollen has only one purpose Ė to hide the country of origin.  Filtering also costs money. Testing for pollen may be worthless, but testing the pollen itself is far from worthless as evidenced by producers who spend money to make sure it canít happen.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 08:06:31 PM »
Aren't they jus removing the pollen so that it will be clearer looking? It still tastes like honey, right? So what's the problem?

Bob,

I'm curious; did the idea of reading the article before commenting even cross your mind?  ;)
Pizza is not bread.

scott123

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 08:45:37 PM »
The real problem is dumping.

Craig, dumping is not a food safety issue or a consumer issue.  It is an industry issue.  If legal honey producers want to protect themselves from illegal producers, then that's fine. If they want to illicit public support in their fight against illegal honey, that's okay too.  But don't frame it in the context of food safety like this article is attempting to do. Don't garner support by telling people that filtered honey can kill them.

There's no chance that 100% of illegal honey dumping could be stopped, and, even if it could, there's no guarantee that American honey would never be contaminated.  It is up to honey retailers to make sure that honey is thoroughly tested and free from contamination.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 09:19:43 PM »
Craig, dumping is not a food safety issue or a consumer issue. 

Dumping most certainly is both a food safety issue and a consumer issue.

We have food inspection protocols for a reason. When you dump food, you by definition circumvent those protocols, and that is a food safety issue. We also have legal definition for "honey." If your product does not meet that definition, it is a consumer issue. In any case, how do you argue that one shouldn't frame an economic issue as a food safety issue while at the same time arguing that deceptive trade practices are not a consumer issue?

I don't disagree that honey packagers (not the retailers - can you imagine what food would cost if you applied your standard across the board?) have a duty to test their source product, but that in no way minimizes the problems of dumping.
Pizza is not bread.

scott123

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 10:26:25 PM »
Testing is the food safety issue and the consumer issue, not the dumping. Dumping only impacts the purity of honey in a portion of the delivery chain where honey doesn't need to be protected. Honey doesn't need to be tested over and over again to make sure that it's safe and pure.  It only has to happen at the packager. The buck stops there. As long as the packagers are testing for contaminants, and they are, because if someone ever got sick, they're legal butts would be on the line, then testing doesn't have to occur at the producer.

The laws are in place to protect the consumer.  We don't need any new laws, we just need to vigorously enforce existing legislation by making sure that packagers are doing their job and vigorously testing the honey they sell.  If a bottle of Sue Bee honey at the supermarket contains dumped honey, and, Sue Bee has tested it for purity, then I, as a consumer, don't care where it came from.  The very last thing that I want is the government stepping in, making new laws and driving up the price of affordable supermarket honey. Pollen or no pollen, filtration or no filtration, I don't care.  I don't want medical benefits in the honey on my toast, and, if it gets me inexpensive honey, I don't mind if someone's filtered it. No one walks into a supermarket and expects quality honey. You get what you pay for.  I only expect it to be safe and to be pure.  And that safety and that purity are established by the packager, and, if it isn't, we scream bloody murder.  One single recall is not an industry wide problem.  If the author of the article, instead of testing major brands for pollen,  tested them for corn syrup or antibiotics and found them, then I'd be angry.   But they didn't.

Testing, on the packager level, resolves all safety and consumer issues.  We need to enforce the laws for testing and stop trying to scare the public with filtration fears.


enter8

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 10:32:03 PM »
FWIW some of the very best honey I've ever tasted came from China from hives I saw in action with my own eyes and a husband and wife team who were blatantly not trying to make a fast buck.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 10:38:22 PM »
Bob,

I'm curious; did the idea of reading the article before commenting even cross your mind?  ;)
;D You are such a clever young man....boy, this forum is so lucky to have you Craig, we really are. You too Scott(most of the time! ;D)
Bob did read some of it and then came to a conclusion that, obviously, may appear to be quite misinformed.

I'll defer to you more knowledgeable types an stay outta the way....thanks for your patience .... ;)
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 12:24:40 PM »
Testing is the food safety issue and the consumer issue, not the dumping. Dumping only impacts the purity of honey in a portion of the delivery chain where honey doesn't need to be protected. Honey doesn't need to be tested over and over again to make sure that it's safe and pure. 

I don't understand why you're so fixated on the food safety aspect. Itís potentially a problem, but itís not the real problem. This particular article was written on a website called ďFood Safety News.Ē This website is run by personal injury lawyers who specialize in foodborne illness cases. What exactly would you expect the story to be about? You seem to be having trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

Quote
The laws are in place to protect the consumer.  We don't need any new laws, we just need to vigorously enforce existing legislation by making sure that packagers are doing their job and vigorously testing the honey they sell.

Who said we needed any new laws? Youíre right, we should "vigorously enforce" existing laws, and that would mean stopping the import of all honey that has the pollen filtered out. Somehow I doubt thatís what you had in mind.

Quote
If a bottle of Sue Bee honey at the supermarket contains dumped honey, and, Sue Bee has tested it for purity, then I, as a consumer, don't care where it came from.  The very last thing that I want is the government stepping in, making new laws and driving up the price of affordable supermarket honey.

Scott, with all due respect, you have it completely backwards. This isnít a matter of our government making new laws that drive the price up. Itís a matter of preventing a foreign government from artificially driving prices down to a point that puts domestic producers out of business and sucks capital out of our economy. You may only care about cheap honey, but just because itís cheap doesnít make it a good thing even if it is wholesome. Cheap honey has real costs you are completely ignoring. And if you want to believe itís OK, where do you draw the line? Is there anything that is not OK to dump here?

Quote
Pollen or no pollen, filtration or no filtration, I don't care.  I don't want medical benefits in the honey on my toast, and, if it gets me inexpensive honey, I don't mind if someone's filtered it. No one walks into a supermarket and expects quality honey. You get what you pay for.  I only expect it to be safe and to be pure.  And that safety and that purity are established by the packager, and, if it isn't, we scream bloody murder.  One single recall is not an industry wide problem.  If the author of the article, instead of testing major brands for pollen, tested them for corn syrup or antibiotics and found them, then I'd be angry.   But they didn't.

Testing, on the packager level, resolves all safety and consumer issues.  We need to enforce the laws for testing and stop trying to scare the public with filtration fears.

Did you read the article either? The author didnít do the testing, a professor at Texas A&M did. Again, this particular article was put out there by trial lawyers who specialize in foodborne illness cases, and youíre trying to extrapolate it across the entire spectrum of the issue when it is only a tiny part (apparently they have succeeded in their objective). Not only is your argument not focused on the key issue, it is also fundamentally flawed. On one hand you want to enforce the laws, but on the other you donít care about testing for pollen Ė the two are part in parcel. You canít enforce the laws without the pollen. Filtration is about thwarting our laws. There is no reason to filter pollen out of honey other than to attempt to break our laws. You want to enforce the laws, but you are OK if we donít if it gets you cheap honey. You donít see a contradiction?
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 02:14:52 PM »
Isn't that pretty much what I just told you? I think they downplayed the dumping aspect, but it's NPR, and I don't think they've found a dictatorial regime they don't love yet.
Pizza is not bread.

scott123

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 02:27:15 PM »
Does Cato love dictatorial regimes?

http://www.cato.org/blog/citizens-do-you-know-source-honey

If American honey producers want to tack a 'true source' label on their honeys, charge more for it, and put it next to the 'untrue' source honey, that's fine by me, just don't have Senator Chuck Schumer pressure the FDA to enact standards that would force all honey producers to enact these protocols (and tell me that I'm benefiting from it, which I'm not).

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2013, 03:33:40 PM »
Does Cato love dictatorial regimes?

http://www.cato.org/blog/citizens-do-you-know-source-honey

If American honey producers want to tack a 'true source' label on their honeys, charge more for it, and put it next to the 'untrue' source honey, that's fine by me, just don't have Senator Chuck Schumer pressure the FDA to enact standards that would force all honey producers to enact these protocols (and tell me that I'm benefiting from it, which I'm not).

Every time you post here you pull something else off-point out of your rear end and try to force it into the discussion. The push for something like True Source is a response by domestic producers to foreign producers illegally working around the anti-dumping import tariffs. The cost of honey may be artificially low in this country today as a result of dumping or laundering, but if it goes up, it's not the legislation adding cost as you are suggesting and is so often the case, rather it would be the result of excluding illegal low cost honey from the market. That's a big difference, and one you refuse to consider for some reason.

If you don't think that there is dumping going on, fine - just come out an say it. If you think we should have wide open free trade and let every foreign government subsidized or dirt floor sweatshop item come into this country at prices that domestic producers can't possibly compete with, come out and say so, but stop hiding behind the off-point arguments.

It's interesting you brought up True Source. I wonder how your arguments might be different if this discussion was somehow about pizza rather than honey. Discussions such as this one come to mind: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/137365-can-you-make-authentic-neapolitan-pizzas-at-home/
Pizza is not bread.

scott123

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Re: That honey you're using isn't honey!?!
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 04:35:37 PM »
1. Dumping- absolutely, positively occurring.
2. Wide open free trade- I'm not for this in any shape or fashion.

I'm not 'pro-dumping.' If American honey producers want to plaster the internet with op eds about how Chinese honey is killing them, I would listen.  They have every right to ask the government to enact standards to protect them and to ask the public to support them in their fight against illegal foreign honey.  What I take exception to is an online article from an organization that portrays itself as an unbiased consumer advocate that:

1. Implicates all Chinese honey as being both inferior and unsafe.
2. Makes a false connection between filtered honey and dumped honey
3. Spreads unsubstantiated rumors that filtered honey is dangerous
4. Openly asks for the public to pressure Congress/FDA to enact filtration standards

If this exact same article was in a trade magazine, I would have no problem with it whatsoever.  But it's presentation in a food safety/consumer advocacy setting is offensive to me.

Let me put it another way. I am extremely anti-dumping, but I am also extremely anti- filtration standards.  If honey has to contain pollen from hive to plate, the bureaucratic red tape necessary to achieve this will send the price of honey soaring and kill a lot of small honey producers that can't afford to pay for the testing.  Whatever it takes to prevent dumping, do it, just don't enact standards that make filtering illegal. Resolving dumping cannot occur at the expense of the consumer, and filtration standards would do that.

As far as honey vs. pizza... The idea that filtered honey is redefining honey as something else is a claim that the honey industry is alleging, but hasn't been proven. Filtering can be a sign of adulteration, but not all filtered honeys are adulterated (and most likely very few are not).  Lack of pollen, as laid out in the NPR, is not proof of adulteration.  There's zero proof that honey is being redefined.  If there was, and we could find jars of brown colored corn syrup being sold as honey, I would go ballistic, but there's no proof of this, only ridiculous pollen testing.  Neapolitan pizza, is, as you're fully aware, under constant, provable attack of being redefined.  When a well known author tries to define Neapolitan pizza as something else, I speak up.

Edit: And yes, I have been all over the map in my arguments (more so than usual :) ), but, the general gist of what I've been saying hasn't changed all that much.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 04:43:12 PM by scott123 »


 

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